This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
WASHINGTON -- The Department of the Interior may be considering two new national monuments in Utah.
The San Rafael Swell in Emery County and Cedar Mesa region in San Juan County are among more than two dozen "nationally significant landscapes" that may be good candidates for national monument designation.
Candidates for National Monument designation
|San Rafael Swell, Utah|
|Cedar Mesa Region, Utah|
|Montana's Northern Prairie, Mont.|
|Lesser Prairie Chicken Preserve, N.M.|
|Berryessa Snow Mountains, Calif.|
|Heart of the Great Basin, NV.|
|Otero Mesa, N.M.|
|Northwest Sonoran Desert, Ariz.|
|Owyhee Desert, OR/NV|
|Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, Calif.|
|Vermillion Basin, Colo.|
|Bodie Hills, Calif.|
|The Modoc Plateau, Calif.|
|San Juan Islands, Wash.|
|Bristol Bay Region, AK|
|Teshekpuk Lake, AK|
|Red Desert, Wyo.|
The document that contained the list was recently leaked and has many Republicans seeing red.
Utah Sen. Bob Bennett vows to fight any such proposal. In a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Bennett accuses the department of making decisions without local input and keeping public lands from the public.
He says, "Instead of an open process that involves local input, the department seems to prefer to make decisions behind closed doors in Washington where there is little accountability and no transparency. This is simply unacceptable and fuels my concerns about these documents and this administration's potential future actions."
However, the document is only a draft memo, says the Department of the Interior, and serves to outline lands in need of protection.
The document states that "further evaluations should be completed prior to any final decision, including an assessment of public and Congressional support."